Reviving the traditional use of sheep wool and fibre

Yak fibre and sheep wool were used by the highlanders for over a thousand years to make clothes, tents, ropes and blankets. Currently, with availability of different wool and yak fibre materials in the markets, the cultural and traditional use of wool, fibre, knowledge and art of traditional wool processing is diminishing in the country.

Thus, a three days advocacy and hands-on training on sheep wool and yak fibre processing was organised for the highland livestock staffs at the National Sheep Breeding Centre (NSBC), Dechenpelrithang, Bumthang. It was aimed to revive and promote the traditional wool and fibre use; impart local skills and knowledge on traditional sheep wool and yak fibre processing, expose to different improve wool processing equipment and start annual sheep wool and yak fibre collection and recording. The event was attended by livestock staffs from Paro, Haa, Trashigang, Bumthang, Gasa, Thimphu and Wangdue and National Highland Research and Development Centre (NHRDC).

The two expert herders, Kunzang and Kencho from Tsento gewog, ESPs at NSBC and Ugyen Dorji from Meteorology Section, Bumthang who is known as the third-generation farmers with skills on sheep wool processing provided a hands-on demonstration-cum-training on yak fibre and sheep wool carding, spinning and needle and wet felting. Ugyen who hails from Khaling, Trashigang said that his family used to rear more than 800 sheep in the past. He is willing to share his skills and knowledge on sheep wool processing to any interested individual and organisations.

A way forward to diversify wool products and detailed documentation of existing wool products in Bhutan was discussed, developed and agreed. The event was organised by the Research and Extension Division in collaboration with the NHRDC and NSBC from 28 February to 1 March.

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Submitted by Research and Extension Division, Department of Livestock

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